Your Baby's Development Week-By-Week
The first year of life is, to put it simply, amazing. Use our week-by-week info as a guideline for changes to look for during the first 12 months--but remember, every baby develops at his or her own pace.
Weeks 1 through 26
How does your baby grow? Here's a look at 52 wonderful weeks of learning.
Don't worry if your baby isn't doing what's described here at exactly the time listed. Remember, every baby grows in a way that's entirely unique and individual. If you have concerns about your child's development, be sure to discuss them with your pediatrician.
It's only been a week, but already your newborn knows she can rely on you. By now, she can recognize your voice. Hearing her parents' familiar voices helps her adjust to the strange new world outside the womb and lets her know that she's not alone. So the more you talk to her, the better. She can't understand your words, but your love comes through loud and clear.
This week, your baby can focus on objects 8 to 14 inches away--just about the distance between his eyes and yours during feedings. In fact, babies this age prefer faces to other objects. By looking at him during his meals, you'll encourage him to practice focusing. As you feed him, move your head slowly from side to side and see if his eyes follow you. This helps build his eye muscles and tracking skills.
Though her movements are still random and jerky, your baby can control her body in one amazing way by this week. She can snuggle! As you hold her, watch how she adjusts her posture towards you. She finds your arms and even your scent calming and comforting. There couldn't be a more perfect and relaxing way for the two of you to bond.
Have you noticed your baby using his vocal chords in ways other than crying? He may coo and make "ahh" sounds this week, especially when he sees mom or dad. Babies learn by mimicking--so replay his sounds back to him. He not only loves the attention, but he's also finding out that his voice has power: he calls, you appear!
This week, your baby's movements are becoming smoother and more purposeful--those random, jerky motions are beginning to disappear. She's not ready for gym class, but try to give her time each day for using her body. You can give her a gentle mini-workout by slowly pulling her to a sitting position, or letting her "fly" by resting her tummy-down on your forearm. Always support her head.
It wasn't gas! At about this age, your baby will flash an adorable gummy grin that is his first genuine smile. How can you tell? His eyes will brighten and widen as he moves his mouth upwards. By smiling back and cooing to him, you'll do more than get another smile. You're teaching him that his actions cause a reaction--with pleasant results!
Your baby is busy this week. She's starting to make sense of her senses--she can look at a rattle and connect it to the sound it makes. She's also developing more sophisticated tastes in color, too, preferring bright colors and three dimensional objects over flat black and white ones. A musical mobile in her crib could entertain her for several minutes--just watch her follow it and smile!
His head is still wobbly, but those neck muscles get stronger by the day. Around this age, your baby can lift his head about 45 degrees. Put him on his stomach for brief periods every day so he can practice. He may even try to do mini-pushups! Encourage him to look up by placing a mirror or dangling a toy in from of him.
Your baby's world is alive with the sound of music this week. Sounds fascinate her, especially high tones and pitches. She's also interested in hearing you talk, and will stare intently at your mouth as you speak to her. She may even reply with cooing or "goo"-ing. Though she's not ready for epic poems, start reading to her--she's already building a bank of vocabulary words.
Guess what? Your baby can pick out his parents' faces in a group. His eyes widen and shine and he wiggles with glee when someone familiar comes near. He's ready and willing to hone his social skills, so make him part of family activities-bring him to the table during dinner, or put him in a carrier sling while you work. He loves your company as much as you love his.
At this age, your baby is sleeping less, and she's awake for longer periods of the day. She's anxious to learn about her world and family, and she may not always be interested in your choice of game. If she turns her head and looks away, she's declaring she's ready to move on to something else. At only 11 weeks, she's got ideas of her own!
Around this age, your baby has discovered an endless source of enchantment--his hands. He's realized that those fingers and thumbs are separate objects. He can also bring his hands together, look at them, then put them to his mouth to taste. Let him experiment with these wonderful tools by offering different textures for him to feel--a velvet scarf or a rubbery toy. Just make sure it's clean!
All of those sleepless nights are really starting to pay off now. Besides bestowing sweet smiles and coos on you, your baby may be laughing, chuckling and babbling in long chains. Because you've been talking to her, she's starting to figure out that your message is broken into parts--syllables. Soon she'll start using these syllables by putting together vowel sounds with consonants.
Rattles and dangling toys on a bouncy seat do more than amuse your baby at 14 weeks. These doodads help her hand and eye skills develop together. Vary her diet of toys--she's intrigued with multi-textured toys, bright primary colors, and things that make sounds. She'll bat or grasp them (she'll also try to mouth them, her favorite way of learning!).
Say good-bye to a relatively stationary baby. Around now, your baby may start rolling over--either from his back to his front, or front to back. This is quite an accomplishment! In the coming weeks, he'll likely master his rolls in one direction. Make sure he's never left alone on a bed or high surface. And give him lots of praise for each flip--he'll relish the attention and will be inspired to keep at it.
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